St Barthelemy, or St Bart’s for short, is one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive islands; lined with immaculate beaches and surrounded by beautiful reefs. Elegant yet casual – its lack of crowds, opportunities for watersports, beautiful boutique hotels and beautiful views make it an increasingly popular luxury destination. With winter in full force in the UK, a visit to this glorious Caribbean hideaway promises some much-needed winter sun. Here we take a look at our five favourite beaches on the island, perfect for a spot of sun-drenched rest and relaxation.
Grande Saline Beach
Often regarded as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, the sheer beauty offered by Grande Saline Beach will instantly take your breath away. It has an undeveloped and isolated feel which is difficult to match, and is perfect for swimming when calm, and for surfing when it gets breezy. If you’re after an all-over tan, nude sunbathing is common here.
Situated on the north shore of the island, Lorient Beach is often overlooked by tourists, though it is a delightful stretch of sand set behind a glorious reef. Its low key nature helps it to stand out from the rest, and the beach also offers a few shady spots where you can shelter from the hot Caribbean sun.
Along with its neighbour, Grand Fonds, Toiny Beach makes up St Bart’s must-see “wild coast”, earning its name from the strong swell which attracts surfers looking for the island’s best waves. When calm, the beach is also an excellent place to swim, and if you go snorkelling, you can even see the luminous fauna and coral thriving beneath the water. Above all, it’s a great place to recharge your batteries, especially at sunset, when the sun disappears behind Morne Rouge Hill and the full moon rises above the headland.
St Jean Beach
Split into two parts by the prominent Eden Rock, St Jean Beach is one of the best-known on the island, as it is easily accessible and close to a number of amenities and attractions, such as shops, restaurants and the airport. Its popularity means it has a highly lively atmosphere, and if you’re feeling active, there’s no lack of options for watersports to try.
A locals’ favourite they prefer to keep secret, Marigot Bay is virtually a private beach, with pretty beach cabanas and fisherman’s huts meeting the water’s edge. The bay is part of a natural marine reserve, where you can swim and snorkel and take in the host of marine life living beneath the water, from colourful fish to rock lobsters and green sea turtles – could this be the perfect swim?
Where to stay
As well as beaches, Saint Barthelemy is also home to some fantastic boutique stays. For some more inspiration for your Caribbean trip browse our selection of boutique hotels in St Barts.
Image: John M, available under Creative Commons